The Indiana State Fair Commission has invited the public to a two-hour open house in the Pepsi Coliseum this Saturday for a tour of the 73 year-old landmark before it closes for renovation. Fairgrounds staff will provide guided tours of the building every 20 minutes from 10 AM until noon.
The state fairgrounds is also busy hosting events for the National FFA Convention this week, and FFA has the final events in the current coliseum, according to fair spokesman Andy Klotz.
“And that will be their rodeo. They have two rodeos, one Thursday night and one Friday night, and we will have a brief ceremony following that Friday night rodeo for the FFA kids on hand. That will officially close the building. I really think that they even feel that it’s kind of an honor to have the last event that goes on in the coliseum before the renovation.”
The rodeo will be considered private events and then the public is welcome Saturday morning.
Klotz says the public can “just come into the building and maybe take it in one last time before we close it down for the 22 month renovation so they can relive some of those memories because it will be completely different when it’s reopened in July of 2014.”
Visitors are encouraged to roam, take photos, and reminisce. And there is plenty to reminisce about.
“The Beatles concert back in 1964, and it’s amazing how many people say they were there when the capacity was about 9,000 people and yet it seems like a hundred thousand people went to that show. So that was certainly a highlight, but we’ve had presidents speak in that building. We used to have championship boxing back when heavyweight boxing was a huge sport in the American culture. Of course it has most of Indianapolis’ ice hockey history and it’s where the Pacers began.”
And of course generations have considered the Pepsi Coliseum home base for many 4-H, livestock and other agriculture related events through the years.
The building will be completely refurbished inside while the outside remains essentially the same. The renovation is part of a $63 million project that will also include the construction of an adjoining arena that will allow for simultaneous public events.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/10/Pepsi-Coliseum-closing-events.mp3|titles=Pepsi Coliseum closing events]